“If I accept you as you are, I make you worse; however, if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming I help you become that.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
A leader’s job is to help people become what they are capable of, to help them live into their potential. For a variety of reasons few of us are aware of our potential, of what we are capable of becoming. What most of us need is a guide; someone who can see that potential in us, treat us as though we are what we are capable of, and help us become that.
Stephen R. Covey reminded us of this mission when he said, “Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.” As he points out it is not enough just to see that potential in others. You need to clearly communicate it to them. You need to communicate it to them on a regular basis, and in a variety of ways to help overcome the limiting beliefs they may have. You need to communicate it to them both in your words and your actions. Those beliefs were built over a lifetime and will not likely be changed in one conversation.
This must be sincere on your part. If you are going through the motions and just giving empty platitudes people will see through that. You body language and manner of speaking will reveal your true beliefs about them. If you do not see the potential at first then it is your job to do some digging, step back from your preconceived ideas about the person and mine for the nuggets of gold inside them.
Yes, they play a role in this. They have to learn to develop that same belief in themselves. If you are in fact a leader, and not just a boss, then you will step up and take the lead. Your job after all is to develop your people.
Remember that leading and striving for greatness are both choices and journeys.